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10 Eye-Opening Books Steve Jobs Would Have Recommended

10 Eye-Opening Books Steve Jobs Would Have Recommended

It’s been said again and again that Steve Jobs was a visionary, but it wasn’t because he focused only on growing Apple and designing the iPhone. How did he think the way he did? Surely he learned from someone.

He read books that focused on more than just technology and business. As you’ll see below, in addition to those subjects, his reading list included topics like meditation and a vegetarian diet. Most importantly, the books that Steve Jobs read shared one main characteristic: they were about an individual overcoming obstacles to transform the world. This is exactly what he did with Apple.

Here are 10 eye-opening books that influenced Steve Jobs.

1. 1984, George Orwell

1984

    Imagine what life would be like if you had no control over anything in your world. This is a story about one man’s fight against an oppressive, all-controlling state. It makes the reader contemplate aspects of society that are controlling them, and question the control they have over their own thoughts and actions.

    It’s inarguable that Steve Jobs was influenced by this book. The first advertisement which introduced the Apple Macintosh depicted the world as oppressed and dominated by IBM, and Apple was the only alternative able to disrupt the conformist status quo.

    2. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

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    innovators dilemma

      In The Innovator’s Dilemma, Christensen discusses the that idea that successful companies may fail to adopt new technology or business models that would help their customers’ future needs as a result of focusing too much on their customers’ current needs. As we work to achieve our goals or grow our businesses we have to focus on our short-term goals, but at the same time avoid getting stuck with a short-term outlook. We have to consider what our end goal is and make sure our current goals fit with that vision.

      Apple often looked past it’s current technology and continued to change its own technology. Take the iPhone for example, which has all the features of an iPod and more- making iPods obsolete.

      3. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

      zen mind beginners mind

        Meditation has been proven to improve mental health and reduce stress. In today’s fast-paced, hectic world, it’s important to have moments to yourself. If you’re looking to get a start in meditation, this is the go-to book. It’s a compilation of talks given by Suzuki, providing a concise introduction to Zen meditation. It also discusses the topics of selflessness and mindfulness.

        Steve Jobs often used the methods found in this book to center himself during difficult moments in his career. He was such an avid practitioner that he considered going to Japan to continue his practice, but was advised against it.

        4. Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

        autobiography of a yogi

          This book gives us a look into the life of Paramahansa Yogananda. He shares his encounters with spiritual figures of the East and West and his journey from childhood to becoming a monk. Through sharing his experiences, he attempts to explain the spiritual laws of everyday occurrences.

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          If you’re looking to understand life in a little more depth, this book will help you develop an understanding of people from different faiths and creeds, emphasizing the idea of peace through self-realization.

          Jobs read and reread this book while he stayed at a guesthouse in the foothills of the Himalayas in India. He continued to reread it every year afterwards.

          5. Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe

          diet for a small planet

            This was the first book that introduced a significantly different and healthier way of eating to America: being a vegetarian. This book contains simple rules in an easy-to-follow format, and recipes for anyone looking to start on a high-protein vegetarian diet. Healthy eating and dieting is a difficult goal for many of us, but with specific recipes and explanations, Lappe decreases the barriers to healthy eating.

            After reading this book, Jobs swore off meat, became a vegetarian, and began to experiment with other extreme diets.

            6. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

            moby dick

              Moby Dick tells the story of a ship captain and his efforts to get revenge on a white whale that destroyed his ship and severed his leg. The captain demonstrates lessons in persistence that we can learn from- guiding us to hopefully conquer our own white whales. Maybe you’re stuck on a problem, or finding it difficult to achieve a goal. This is a sign you have your own white whale to conquer.

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              Jobs and Apple had a white whale in the 1980s: entering a market that was already dominated by another company, IBM. Through many struggles, Jobs was able to help Apple to achieve its own share of the market. It’s safe to say that Apple has conquered many white whales since then.

              7. King Lear by William Shakespeare

              king lear

                In this tragedy, Shakespeare demonstrates how life can suddenly turn for the worse, telling the story of a king who’s betrayed by his daughters and robbed of his kingdom as he descends into madness. We can learn from the mistakes of King Lear, who betrayed those who loved him the most, was fooled by appearances, and ended up leading his country to civil war.

                Jobs told Walter Isaacson, the author of his biography, that he “loved King Lear”, which isn’t surprising.

                “King Lear offers a vivid depiction of what can go wrong if you lose your grip on your empire, a story surely fascinating to any aspiring CEO,” says Daniel Smith, author of How to Think Like Steve Jobs.

                8. Inside the Tornado, by Geoffrey A. Moore

                inside the tornado

                  New companies often face the problem of finding early adopters for new products, then determining how to reach the mainstream market. Moore provides a method of navigating inside this tornado, helping you to get your company through the turmoil that is taking a product to mass market successfully. This book is recommended for anyone looking to grow a company.

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                  The release of new products means accepting that it may take a while for the general public to adapt to things that are new. Apple has clearly developed strategies to assist them to survive their own tornadoes and get products past early adopters to the mainstream market.

                  9. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand

                  atlas shrugged

                    What happens when billionaire CEOs drop their companies in the name of good, but end up harming the economy? Ayn Rand, hailed as one of the most profound philosophers of the 20th century, tells the story of a dystopian United States where successful CEOs abandon their fortunes and cause important industries to collapse. She provides a deep analysis of ideas like morality, egoism, and the potential destruction of altruism.

                    As the CEO of a large and highly influential company, Jobs likely contemplated his motivations and the effects of his decisions on the world.

                    10. The Tao of Programming, by Geoffrey James

                    the tao of programming

                      This book is a spoof of classic Taoist texts and explains various hacker ideals of work and programming. Through a series of short anecdotes, Geofrrey James outlines lessons about software management and design. A must-read for new project managers or project leads, Steve Jobs personally told Geoffrey James that he enjoyed this book.

                      So why not choose one of these books to kick off your summer reading- you might just change your perspective on life and business at the same time.

                      Featured photo credit: Albumarium via albumarium.com

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                      Last Updated on July 18, 2019

                      What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

                      What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

                      Some people just seem to float through life with a relentless sense of happiness – through the toughest of times, they’re unfazed and aloof, stopping to smell the roses and drinking out of a glass half full.

                      They may not have much to be happy about, but the simplicity behind that fact itself may make them happy.

                      It’s all a matter of perspective, conscious effort and self-awareness. Listed below are a number of reasons why some people are always happy.

                      1. They Manage Their Expectations

                      They’re not crushed when they don’t get what they want – or misled into expecting to get the most out of every situation. They approach every situation pragmatically, hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst.

                      2. They Don’t Set Unrealistic Standards

                      Similar to the last point, they don’t live their lives in a constant pursuit towards impossible visions of perfection, only to always find themselves falling short of what they want.

                      3. They Don’t Take Anything for Granted

                      Happiness rests with feeling fulfilled – those who fail to stop and appreciate what they have every now and again will never experience true fulfillment.

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                      4. They’re Not Materialistic

                      There are arguing viewpoints on whether or not money can really buy happiness; if it can, then we know from experience that we can never be satisfied because there will always be something newer or better that we want. Who has ever had enough money?

                      5. They Don’t Dwell

                      They don’t sweat the small things or waste time worrying about things that don’t really matter at the end of the day. They don’t let negative thoughts latch onto them and drain them or distract them. Life’s too short to worry.

                      6. They Care About Themselves First

                      They’re independent, care for themselves and understand that they must put their needs first in order to accommodate the needs of others.

                      They indulge, aim to get what they want, make time for themselves and are extremely self-reliant.

                      7. They Enjoy the Little Things

                      They stop to smell the roses. They’re accustomed to find serenity when it’s available, to welcome entertainment or a stimulating discussion with a stranger when it crosses their path. They don’t overlook the small things in life that can be just as important.

                      8. They Can Adapt

                      They’re not afraid of change and they work to make the most out of new circumstances, good or bad. They thrive under pressure, are not overwhelmed easily and always embrace a change of pace.

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                      9. They Experiment

                      They try new things, experience new flavors and never shy away from something they have yet to experience. They never order twice from the same menu.

                      10. They Take Their Time

                      They don’t unnecessarily rush through life. They work on their own schedule to the extent that they can and maneuver through life at their own relaxing pace.

                      11. They Employ Different Perspectives

                      They’re not stuck in one perspective; a loss can result in a new opportunity, hitting rock bottom can mean that there’s no where to go but up.

                      12. They Seek to Learn

                      Their constant pursuit of knowledge keeps them inspired and interested in life. They cherish information and are on a life-long quest to learn as much as they can.

                      13. They Always Have a Plan

                      They don’t find themselves drifting without purpose. When something doesn’t go as planned, they have a plan for every letter in the alphabet to fall back on.

                      14. They Give Respect to Get It

                      They are respectful and, in turn, are seen as respectable; the respect they exude earns them the respect they deserve.

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                      15. They Consider Every Opportunity

                      They always have their eyes open for a new road, a new avenue worth exploring. They know how to recognize opportune moments and pounce on them to make the most of every situation. Success is inevitable for them.

                      16. They Always Seek to Improve

                      Perpetual self-improvement is the key towards their ongoing thirst for success. Whatever it is they do, they take pride in getting better and better, from social interactions to mundane tasks. Their pursuit at being the best eventually materializes.

                      17. They Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

                      They’re not ones to get offended easily over-analyze or complicate matters. They laugh at their own faults and misfortunes.

                      18. They Live in the Moment

                      They don’t live for tomorrow or dwell on what may have happened yesterday. Every day is a new opportunity, a new chapter. They live in the now, and in doing so, get the most out of every moment.

                      You can learn how to do so too: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

                      19. They Say Yes

                      Much more often than they say no. They don’t have to be badgered to go out, don’t shy away from new opportunities or anything that may seem inconvenient.

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                      20. They’re Self-Aware

                      Most important, they’re wholly aware of themselves. They self-reflect and are conscious of their states of mind. If somethings bothering them, they fix it.

                      We’re all susceptible to feeling down every now and again, but we are all equipped with the necessary solutions that just have to be discovered.

                      Lack of confidence, inability to feel fulfilled, and susceptibility to stress are all matters that can be controlled through the way we handle our lives and perceive our circumstances.

                      Learn about How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life.

                      Final Thoughts

                      The main philosophy employed by the happiest includes the idea that life’s simply too short: life’s too short to let things get you down, to take things for granted, to pursue absolute and unrealistic perfection.

                      For some, employing these characteristics is a second nature – they do it without knowing. For others, a conscious effort must be put forth every now and again. Self-Awareness is key.

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                      Featured photo credit: Charles Postiaux via unsplash.com

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